DANCE! DANCE! DANCE! THE WORLD OF BUSBY BERKELEY

Born to an actress mother and a father who ran a famous LA dance studio, young Berkeley William Enos, soon to be nicknamed "Busby", had entertaining in his blood, taking the stage for the first time when he was merely five years old. More intrigued by choreography, and inspired by soldiers' drills during World War I, Berkeley found a perfect match for his talents in the new medium of motion pictures, where creative crane and tracking shots could heighten his complex geometric dances that relied less on individual skill and more on vast swaths of beautiful men and women (mostly women) hoofing it in perfect synch to kaleidoscopic numbers that influenced movies forever. The Heights Theater is proud to present five of Berkeley's best films, rare gems whose majesty can only be appreciated on the silver screen.

"GOLD DIGGERS OF 1933"

Aug. 2, 2018, 7:30 p.m.

35MM PRESENTATION

Four young actresses and a down-on-his-luck producer are holed up in a downbeat New York apartment, lamenting their lack of funds keeping them from sure stardom. On the scene comes a brilliant singer and pianist, who offers them enough money to put on the show--but is this guy a gangster, or worse, a spoiled socialite whose parents want him as far as possible from the gold digging girls of Broadway? This enormous pre-code hit has toe-tapping songs, hilarious and sexy dialogue, and, of course, a veritable army of leggy dancers undulating in Berkeley's hypnotic dance numbers. Dick Powell, Ginger Rogers, Joan Blondell make this a star-studded classic not to be missed!

35mm print courtesy The Library of Congress


"FOOTLIGHT PARADE"

Aug. 9, 2018, 7:30 p.m.

35MM PRESENTATION

James Cagney is a Broadway producer who's seen better days, when a new job falls in his lap: making "prologues", complex live dance numbers to appear before movies. When he discovers that a rival is stealing his ideas, and that a Broadway producer wants him for a new show, Cagney locks his performers in a room in order to have his needed secrecy. Cagney campaigned to win the lead, eager to work with Berkeley (and break from his gangster persona). Dick Powell, Joan Blondell, and Ruby Keeler provide the rapid-fire laughs and the songs, but the star is Berkeley's insane choreography, including the famous "By a Waterfall" featuring over 100 dancers cavorting nearly naked in a vast swimming pool.

35mm print courtesy The Library of Congress


"GOLD DIGGERS OF 1935"

Aug. 16, 2018, 7:30 p.m.

35MM PRESENTATION

Dick Powell returns, this time as Dick Curtis, a med student working his way through college singing and performing at Catskills resort. Hired by a penny pinching woman to escort her daughter, Ann, for the summer, he does so with the encouragement of his fiance, Arline. Of course, everyone falls in love with the wrong person, hijinks ensue, and then... we get close with a series of Berkeley's magnificent show-stopping numbers, including the famous "Lullaby of Broadway", featuring a floating head that turns into New York City, a woman falling to her death, and a tap dance sequence with 100 dancers tapping in perfect unison. A masterpiece by any standard, and one of the most entertaining musicals ever made.

35mm print courtesy Warner Bros.


"FOR ME AND MY GAL"

Aug. 23, 2018, 7:30 p.m.

35MM PRESENTATION

This warm bio-pic of vaudevillians Jo Hayden (Minnesota's own Judy Garland) and Harry Palmer (Gene Kelly), was a departure from Berkeley's usual manic Depression-era musicals. While it doesn't feature the usual over-the-top numbers, For Me and My Gal was Garland's first adult role, and Berkeley proves himself a master of modern musicals that would dominate the 1950s, with individual performances from Garland and Kelly that would inspire their later work.

35mm print courtesy Warner Bros.


None

Aug. 30, 2018, 7:30 p.m.

"THE GANG'S ALL HERE"

Aug. 30, 2018, 7:30 p.m.

35MM PRESENTATION

Join us for a night of Busby Berkeley, two films for the price of one! At the time the most expensive film from 20th Century Fox, The Gang's All Here was an enormous hit, that has since gone on to become a camp classic! Colors explode off the screen, especially from the headdress of Carmen Miranda, who sings and dances with giant bananas (in a scene whose innuendo caused the film to be banned in Brazil). This was Berkeley's first color film, and a welcome return to the controlled insanity that made him famous.

The Gang's All Here 35mm Presentation Courtesy of Fox and a private collector (note: this screening has French subtitles)


"TWO TICKETS TO BROADWAY"

Aug. 30, 2018, 9:30 p.m.

35MM TECHNICOLOR DYE TRANSFER PRESENTATION

One of Berkeley's last films, and one that was meddled with by Howard Hughes (who had just bought RKO Pictures), Two Tickets to Broadway is a blast, with a young Janet Leigh as a singer and dancer who wants to make it big, but can't, despite the efforts of her manic promoter (Eddie Bracken.) Great songs, great dances, and a pair of curmudgeonly deli owners (and reluctant show producers) make this very rare screening not one to miss!

35mm Presentation Courtesy of Warner Bros. and a private collector